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#HandleItAfrica- Social Media As A Tool For Leading Community Support

Social media is going crazy with all the shady and petty stuff that is out there but, there are all the sane things that you could choose to see and many opportunities embedded in it, that only those with foresight can see. One of these was Handle It Africa conference, a social media enlightenment and networking event by Penzaarville Africa. I had seen the flier on my timeline and since I am all up for expanding my knowledge base, one of the ways that I do that is by learning from others. Hence, registering for the conference seemed like the right thing to do.

Dressed in a vintage gown, a pair of Dorothy Perkins shoes and my Bohemian soft water hair, I headed out for Oriental Hotel, the venue for the event. I was feeling really good and in high spirits as I anticipated all that I hoped to take home from the conference. I am not sure what time I got there but I do know that I got registered at 10:40am because my tag had the time stamp and when I walked in, there was the lady doing the monologue. Few minutes after I settled in, the first panel began and all the knowledge that I needed to grasp began to pour forth from the speakers. I have decided to share what I learnt with you and I will be doing so in a series with each episode highlighting the lessons learnt from each panel. On this episode, it is the panel on Social Media: leading Community Support.

As a society, we have come to depend largely on the Government to do everything. Like Ademola Rewaju rightly pointed out, anything that happens or doesn’t happen is on the Government, even when it takes us as citizens to be responsible. Well, there are a few people who believe in the need for citizens to be responsible, ensuring that they champion activities that contribute to a better community.

As a Nigerian, the Police Is Your Friend is nothing more but a slogan. People have had terrible experiences with the Police that they do not see the need to involve the police in any mishap that comes their way. It is assumed that the police is out to exploit you from your misfortune rather than be of help. Despite this, a young man has risen to the position of the assistant Police Force PRO Annex, Lagos, because he chose to be the difference. He sought a way to do so, tilting towards social media to make true of the notion, that The Police is Your friend. With the aid of social media, he has given a voice to many and made it possible for people to expose bad eggs in the force and assist in resolving their problems. Today, he has moved from addressing these issues on his personal Instagram account to being a part of a bigger platform. Now, you can reach the police on Twitter, Facebook, Whatsapp and on BBM. When you do reach them on any of these platforms, you will get a unique case tag such that when you do call in, it can be easily traced with that tag and though we are still lacking in the area of data, DSP Aliyu Giwa confirmed that thousands of cases have been resolved via social media. For all of these contacts, keep reading…..

Education is a huge problem in Nigeria as many in the rural areas have no access to basic education. Government should be made responsible for this but we know how they complain that the coffers are dry due to corrupt practices. Rather than wait for Government, a youth corp member decided to take education as his NYSC project. Tagged, Slum To School, Otto Orondaam, took it upon himself to provide basic education to people in the rural area which earned him an award of excellence by the Lagos State Government and has gone on to afford him the opportunity of being appointed on the Lagos State Employment Fund board. Today, Otto has grown the network via social media. The same goes for the life bank which is an initiative of Temi Giwa-Tubosun, to have a pool of blood donors to save lives. Today, she has over 5000 donors who they interact with and contact via social media.

Call To Action

During their conversation, the panelists dropped hints on how we can be solution providers in our communities. The first step is to see ourselves as taps that can serve the needs of different communities. We need to look inward and around to discover what we are passionate about. If you are finding it difficult to discover what your passion is, look around at problems that stare you in the face at all times. Once you discover your passion, do your research and begin to speak about it. This is where social media comes to play because, it gives you a platform to tell compelling stories. That way, you will find like-minded individuals who will be ready to partner with you in actualizing the vision behind your passion.

Secondly, put the service before yourself. What this means is that you will need to sacrifice and give in order to see that which you are passionate about come to fruition. Otto gave up a scholarship to see Slum 2 School attain the growth it has today. Huge sacrifice I must say but worth it as Slum 2 School has opened more doors than he could ever imagine.

We do agree with the school of thought that passion does not pick the bills and Temie agrees with us. There should never be a disconnect between your passion and making money. You should have a business model for your passion such that it can become self-sustainable.

Young ones looking for someone to help their dreams need to be on the look. Otto rightly pointed out that we are refusing to seek opportunities out. There is the LSETF fund in Lagos but very few young people re taking advantage of this. We urge you to click that link, apply and share this post with someone who may need that fund. For the police, you can reach them via Twitter- @policeng_cru, Facebook- NPF Complaints and the WhatsApp number is 08057000003.

In what way are you leading community support or, do you know someone in your community who is doing so? Share with us and we can give you a platform to feature your work.

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